New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority Fined for Whistleblower Harassment

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has had plenty of public troubles lately, the most recent of which has resulted in a fine of more than $50,000 after the agency was found guilty of harassing a whistleblower.

The fine has its roots in an incident from August 2012. At that time, inspectors from the state Public Employees Safety and Health Bureau were visiting the MTA’s Linden Shop maintenance facility and questioned the supervisor, Mark Ruggerio, about the condition of a drill press. When Ruggerio said that it was broken, one of the nearby employees disagreed, and turned the (working) machine on. Then, in front of inspectors, Ruggerio threatened the employee with a restriction and loss of future overtime work.

Inspectors told Ruggerio that he needed to stop, as his threats were retaliatory, but he continued anyway. The worker eventually filed an OSHA whistleblower complaint and was soon transferred to another position. But the drama didn’t stop there.

In the summer of 2013, the same employee reported additional harassment by his new supervisor to OSHA, and it was discovered that the new supervisor had shared certain information about the employee to his coworkers, which led them to shun him.

Now, OSHA has ordered MTA to pay more than $50,000 to the employee in damages and expunge all of his employment records. The MTA will appeal the decision.

For more information on steps you can take when you believe you have been the victim of workplace retaliation, contact the trusted Dallas attorneys at Whistleblower Law for Managers today.